BENT BRIAN TOLLE
January 11– February 27, 2018
Opening Reception: January 11: 6-8pm
C24 Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of sculptures by Brian Tolle marking his inaugural exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition brings together Tolle’s iconic public work, Eureka, on view for the first time in the United States and in a gallery setting, paired with his Levittown sculptures. Bent will be on view from January 11 through February 27, 2018 at 560 West 24th Street, with an opening reception on Thursday, January 11 from 6 – 8 pm.
A highlight of the exhibition is the monumental installation Eureka. At approximately 36 feet high, when standing, the sculpture is a 3D rendering of the façade of a 17th-century Flemish canal house as it might exist in wave form. Thus, it becomes an uncanny reflection of the kinetic water below it. Originally commissioned by curator Jan Hoet for his landmark exhibition Over the Edges(2000), as a site-specific public installation in Ghent, Belgium, the sculpture is re-contextualized in the gallery space. Lying flat on the gallery’s atrium floor Eureka confronts notions of place and process thereby questioning the function of art in public spaces versus art in specific institutions. Drawing ideas from a broad-based conceptual analysis, Tolle creates a dialogue between the contemporary and the historical and blurs the border between architecture and its evolving environment.
A keen observer of domestic life and identity, Tolle furthers his interest of politics of place in his Levittown
sculptures. The sculptures are inspired by the planned housing community, Levittown: the historic town in Long Island, NY, which became the archetype of American suburban life in the early 1950s. Each of Tolle's eleven sculptures is a precise scaled model of an original Levittown home -- cast from the same mold varying only in color and displaying the architectural details of the original structures. The sculptural houses themselves resemble deflated or melting membranes, and are supported by various appropriated mementos of suburban life - found toys, tire swing, shopping cart, a plastic nativity set, and a recliner. These iconographic items rest underneath and inside silicone rubber skins of the houses, emphasizing a dialogue between sites and domestic artifacts.
As the title of the exhibition suggests, the artworks presented in Bent provoke a re-reading, or discord between reality and fiction. The formal play that Tolle visually articulates between shapes and textures, private and public spaces presents a challenge to standard architectural, as well as behavioral conventions and norms.